Commander Showdown - Grismold vs Slimefoot

Grismold, the Dreadsower by Filip Burburan | Slimefoot, the Stowaway by Alex Konstad

Fun Guys

I could play Golgari for the rest of my Commander career and I'd still be perfectly satisfied. I've built Meren of Clan Nel Toth for the graveyard shenanigans. I've dabbled with The Gitrog Monster for land-death and Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest for the beautiful +1/+1 counters. I've even got a Virtus the Veiled + Gorm the Great deck to cut life totals in half. And still I have not plumbed the many depths available to the colors of life and death.

Golgari doesn't just do death. It doesn't just do counters, or just lands, or even just Infect. Golgari also has tokens, and they. Are. Nasty.

Slimefoot, the Stowaway broke onto the scene (and onto the Weatherlight) in Dominaria, generating tons of Saprolings and pinging his enemies whenever his precious brood bites the dust. Meanwhile, Grismold, the Dreadsower was a newer addition to the roster just this year in Commander 2019, and the stats have not been kind to him. He has about 17% as many decks as Slimefoot, but his abilities have endeared him to the folks who dare to brew something bizarre.

If you're in the market for some Golgari tokens - particularly, tokens that like to die - which of these commanders is right for you? Let's find out together on this week's Commander Showdown!

Stowed Away

Despite being an uncommon, Slimefoot, the Stowaway has risen to the #4 Golgari commander within the past two years, an impressive feat for someone with slimy feet.

Slimefoot loves his Saprolings, but his ability to create them is a little expensive. Luckily, Magic has no shortage of token-makers. Verdant Force hails back from the Reanimator decks of the 90's, and while it's usually middling in Commander decks, Slimefoot is happy for its addition here. Its Time Spiral inspiration Verdant Embrace is just as much fun, and none can match Tendershoot Dryad for Saproling capacity.

There are a series of Thallids across Magic too, but I must confess that I'm not a fan of them here. They seem much more suited to Thelon of Havenwood than ol' Slimey. There are a few whose abilities to sacrifice Saprolings do impress me, though: Psychotrope Thallid draws cards, for example, which I can't pass up. Deathspore Thallid can also turn a tiny token swarm into a Chulane, Teller of Tales's dying breath. Landing these on a board of even just a few Saprolings is a darn good deal. However, I'm most impressed with Nemata, Grove Guardian, who can turn a small number of tokens into a very lethal problem.

The real key of the deck, however, is the death. Slimefoot follows the line of Aristocrats-style death triggers like Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat. With enough tokens, he can run people over, but he could also just sit back and let his tokens burst into puffs of pollen around him, simultaneously giving himself life and taking it away from his opposition. Cards like Poison-Tip Archer and Vindictive Vampire will help expedite this process, while Pitiless Plunderer keeps the Saprolings rolling in.

For the real key to a Slimefoot deck, though, let's browse through a potential list:

Slime Time

Commander (1)
Creatures (16)
Enchantments (15)
Instants (10)
Sorceries (13)
Artifacts (8)
Lands (37)

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For my money, the real heart of a Slimefoot deck is its mana. Cryptolith Rite turns each Saproling into a mana-producing machine. Growing Rites of Itlimoc spits out an exponentially increasing amount of mana that your opponents will only be able to stop when it's too late. 'Exponentially' is really the word here; Slimefoot might start slow, but once he gets a few creatures in play, Second Harvest and Saproling Symbiosis turn 'few' into 'many' and turn 'many' into 'holy crap where did all of these come from how do I get out of this mess oh no.'

Slimefoot is all about that mana. There are other ways to make Saprolings, but using the Saprolings themselves to make more Saprolings isn't just one of the most efficient ways to do it, it's also the most fun.

We're not quite done with Slimefoot just yet, but let's turn our attention for the moment to the Troll who loves to troll.

Scully and Grismolder

Grismold, the Dreadsower is so stinkin' weird. He gives your opponents tokens, and gets bigger whenever tokens die. A lot of folks probably look at this unusual set of abilities and assume some Group Hug shenanigans are taking place, and assume this commander is perhaps subpar. I know I did.

Boy howdy, was I wrong.

Grismold slaps. He drops in early. Makes everyone a token or two. Or three. By the time the other players have cast their commanders, Grismold has made anywhere from 6 to 12 tokens across the board. Then he drops an Illness in the Ranks and launches himself into a 15/15 trampling commander who will clock a player out of the game in just two hits, and who will keep getting bigger every turn. I have seen a player get trounced by a Grismold in just one attack before they were even able to get their commander into play. (It was me. I was that player.)

Folks may be turned off from Grismold because of the way he gives his opponents tokens, and we're trained to be wary of giving our opponents tokens, since they might be able to use those to block, or throw a Skullclamp on them to outpace us on card advantage. Don't be fooled. Grismold's gifts are hollow, and die instantly, fueling his own obnoxious power.

Strangely, this is one of the rare decks where Primal Vigor is better than Doubling Season. We want our opponents to get more tokens. We'll even give them away with Hunted Troll and Clackbridge Troll, or even Akroan Horse. But they won't survive. Even if an opponent manages to dispatch our Engineered Plague or Plague Engineer, Grismold will trample right over any tokens we've given away. Combined with a Hardened Scales, he gets even sillier than he already is.

Let's check out the deck:

They See Me Trollin

Commander (1)
Creatures (10)
Enchantments (12)
Artifacts (8)
Instants (11)
Sorceries (19)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (37)

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One of the most impressive things about Grismold is the way his cards serve double duty. Pernicious Deed, for instance, is a good board wipe, but also can be cracked for 0 mana to destroy all tokens, since they'll have a converted mana cost of 0. Arachnogenesis is a Fog effect that also makes blockers, but those blockers also make Grismold huge. Toxic Deluge can be used to either reset the field, or to pick off all the tiny creatures, boosting Grismold into the stratosphere.

Grismold's playstyle probably has more in common with Voltron strategies than token decks. This is unmistakably an aggro commander, a rare find in the Golgari colors, which tend to be so focused on recursion that they slip into a more midrange role in Commander games. Grismold looks a little silly, and it seems hard to take him seriously with that flower on his head, but he's secretly a wicked fast commander who throws haymaker after haymaker. Best not giggle at him for too long.

J. R. R. Token

Anyone who remembers Future Sight Limited knows the mistake of putting Sprout Swarm at common, a spell that creates it own engine by turning its own offspring into mana. It's a devious little synergy, and it's exactly the way Slimefoot, the Stowaway decks love to play. They make bodies. They turn bodies into mana. Maybe with Convoke, maybe with Ashnod's Altar. Once the swarm begins to spread its spores, it's difficult to stop - especially because picking off the tokens means even more damage, a situation Slimefoot is happy to exploit.

Grismold, on the other hand, is best encapsulated by the card Forbidden Orchard. This little land looks pretty janky to most; the color-fixing surely isn't worth giving your opponent a whole token, right? However, older formats take advantage of the forced token using cards like Oath of Druids to summon wildly smashy creatures. That's precisely what Grismold is up to. He's giving things away, but the gifts he's giving you are the kind you'll regret receiving.

Cards to Consider

Let's finish up with some spicy cards these commanders should examine carefully.


  • Snake Umbra: Slimefoot deals damage. It's not life loss. You will draw so many freaking cards.
  • Keen Sense: Once again, for those in the back: Slimefoot deals damage. 24% popularity is way too low for a draw effect this good.
  • Life and Limb: This card is not good because it turns your Forests into Saprolings. It's good because it turns your new Saprolings into Forests than tap to make mana, fueling Slimefoot even further.
  • Seedborn MuseI've found fewer ways to take advantage of an activated ability as well as this.
  • Bolas's Citadel: This thing is just so powerful. Leaves your mana open, and Slimefoot gains you life to refuel it. This is a scary card on its own, but it's dangerous in Slimefoot's hands too.


  • Infernal Genesis: This obscure little number will make a lot of tokens. I mean, the tokens will be dying immediately, so it actually just puts a lot of +1/+1 counters onto Grismold.
  • Awaken the Erstwhile: I'm not super proud of this one, since I don't usually like making people discard their hands, but Grismold will undoubtedly become lethal when this thing goes off, so your opponents won't have to suffer for too long.
  • Ezuri's Predation: An underrated board wipe in its own right, Grismold doesn't mind too terribly if the tokens die.
  • Traverse the Outlands: So. Many. Lands.
  • Gift of Doom: Don't underestimate the indestructibility, but even more than that, don't underestimate the deathtouch on a commander who naturally has trample.

So, which of these token-tastic Golgari-manders is right for you? Do you like turning your Saprolings into mana-making machines, and pinging everyone as they wither away, or do you like turning tokens into counters on a commander who turns them into the mightiest of punches?

Oh, and which pair would you like to see on the next Commander Showdown?


Til next time!

Joey is the lead editor and content producer for EDHREC. You can find him hosting and creating tons of great videos over at or give him a follow at @JosephMSchultz on Twitter, where he likes to celebrate Commander, coffee, and corgis.